It’s that time again! The summer months are upon us and our favorite way to pass the time is by speculating on how specific positions will shape up in the Big 12. The Heartland Sports writers give their take on each position group, ranking them from first to worst. Then they are asked to defend their top three and bottom two rankings.
The consensus rankings come from a points system. A first place selection is worth 10 points, second place is 9 points, and they continue in descending order with tenth place equaling 1 point.
|Heartland Sports Consensus Offensive Line Rankings|
|3. Oklahoma State||30|
|5. Iowa State||22|
|6. West Virginia||18|
|7. Texas Tech||17|
|10. Kansas State||10|
Unanimity – Oklahoma finally tops a list in our position rankings and they do so by unanimously being voted at the top offensive line group in the conference. The Sooners were the only team we reached unanimity on in the offensive line rankings.
Almost Agreed – We were pretty much on the same page with Kansas State once again. However the disparity is pretty crazy. Three of us felt the Wildcats were the worst returning offensive line in the conference and one of us has them at #4.
All Over The Place – West Virginia was the team we didn’t really know what to do with. The Mountaineers placed #6 on our list but all four of us had them in a different spot on the Top 10.
Individual Thoughts And Rankings
1. Oklahoma | The Sooners had to rebuild their offensive line a season ago, but in 2020 they will be returning the most experienced line in the conference. Creed Humphrey will be the anchor of this group, and with Coach Bedenbaugh in charge, it’s impossible not to put the Sooners at the top of this list.
2. Texas | The Longhorns will be looking to replace some talent from last year. However, they will be returning both Denzel Okafor and Sam Cosmi. Texas will have a lot of work to do in order to maintain the offensive line they had a season ago. That being said, returning two of the most experienced lineman in the Big 12 is a great start.
3. Oklahoma State | The Cowboys seemingly have plenty of depth at the O Line position. The big question is who will step up as the anchor of this group? Teven Jenkins seems to be the guy everyone expects to fill that role. If Jenkins makes the jump that is expected of him, the Pokes could have a solid front on offense.
4. Iowa State
6. West Virginia
8. Texas Tech
9. TCU | The Horned Frogs will not be returning much talent on the offensive line. With four starters gone, TCU has some serious work to do in order to be competitive in the trenches in 2020.
10. Kansas State | The Wildcats had a solid offensive line a year ago, but they will be losing all five starters. In a short off season, Kansas State has a lot of work ahead to replace the talent lost up front.
1. Oklahoma Sooners | A year ago, the program spent the better part of the year attempting to replace four starters along the offensive line. Behind the direction of Bill Bedenbaugh and anchored by Creed Humphrey, the group completed the task and now heads into 2020 with every starting piece intact. With some promising young talent on the two deep, OU may very well have three All-Conference members on the field by the time the season closes. Easily the most experienced and one of the more talented lines in the Big 12, the Sooners take over the top spot.
2. Texas Longhorns | A strength one season can quickly become a point of concern the next on the collegiate level of football as players graduate and others opt to enter the NFL Draft. The Longhorns find themselves dealing with such a situation. Able to convince Denzel Okafor to stick with the team instead of exploring transfer options was a big win for the program in terms of experience and depth. Retaining one of the best in the league in Sam Cosmi, other positions along the line will likely be filled by younger talent. It could spell disaster but it could also bring about success.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys | With several options available that possess starting experience on the roster and plenty of depth, the Cowboys don’t possess the high ceiling of years past. Regardless, it’s difficult to replace any player at nearly any position in a condensed off-season. Still, many believe Teven Jenkins will make the leap from just a starter to star lineman while anchoring the effort in the trenches. His efforts will set the tone early and often but OSU could land two O-Lineman on the All-Conference list if everything goes according to plan.
4. Iowa State Cyclones
5. Baylor Bears
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders
7. West Virginia Mountaineers
8. Kansas Jayhawks
9. TCU Horned Frogs | Unable to establish much dominance in the trenches, the Horned Frogs were dealt a serious blow by losing four starters. Beginning the year off with virtually no chemistry along the offensive line, TCU has much work to do before hitting the field.
10. Kansas State Wildcats | In Manhattan, the program experienced the most turnover. Losing all five starters along the offensive line is cause for concern despite the numbers produced a year ago.
1. Oklahoma | Creed Humphrey decided to return to Norman for his Junior year, and he is the anchor of the Sooners’ offensive line. He was the only underclassmen linemen in the conference to be selected to All-Big 12 First Team, and he was Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year. Adrian Ealy, another underclassman, was selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team, making Oklahoma an experienced and talented front.
2. Oklahoma State | Experience is key for the Cowboys this season, and the front line has plenty of it. The loss of Dillon Galloway, who decided to move on from football after graduating, is a tough one, but Josh Sills is a graduate transfer from West Virginia, bringing more experience to Stillwater. Chuba Hubbard didn’t become the best running back in the country by accident, after all.
3. Texas | Samuel Cosmi was selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team as a sophomore a season ago, and he has several upperclassmen around him on the front line, so the Longhorns will be a force to be reckoned with down in the trenches.
4. Kansas State
5. Iowa State
6. Texas Tech
9. West Virginia | The front line for the Mountaineers is probably better than 9th, but after an awful season a year ago, I’m going to have to see something positive from the team before I give any position area a pass.
10. Kansas | The Jayhawks are still the weakest link in the conference, and despite some experience up front, they’re going to have to make major strides if Kansas is going to finish better than last in the conference.
1. Oklahoma – This is where the Sooners separate themselves from the rest of the pack. The blow of losing part-time starter R.J. Proctor from last year’s line is softened by the fact that Bill Bedenbaugh has five guys returning with starting experience including preseason All-American center Creed Humphrey.
2. Baylor – The Bears rode a physical brand of football to the doorstep of the College Football Playoff in 2019. They’ve got the foundation to make a strong run again in 2020 with the entire left side of the line returning along with right tackle Blake Bedier.
3. Texas – Center Zach Shackelford and left guard Parker Braun are gone but the Longhorns do return three starters from the 2019 offensive line, including left tackle Samuel Cosmi who has all-conference potential.
4. West Virginia
6. Oklahoma State
7. Texas Tech
9. Iowa State – The Cyclones legitimately can contend for the conference crown in 2020 but their chances hinge greatly on Matt Campbell’s ability to surround lone returning starter Trevor Downing (left guard) with talent.
10. Kansas State – Lost five senior starters so that pretty much tells you the story here. The Wildcats do return five players from last year’s two-deep.
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